Juvenile Law Center

Youth Fostering Change

Youth Fostering Change, one of our youth engagement programs, offers youth who are currently or formerly involved in the child welfare system the opportunity to evaluate the system and develop and implement a campaign that works toward reform. Each year, Youth Fostering Change Youth Advocates select an area of focus, determine a strategy to address it, and implement their project. Along the way, Juvenile Law Center provides essential support, ensuring that the participants develop the skills they need to succeed.

Apply now to join Youth Fostering Change!

We are not accepting applications at this time.


Improving Access to Higher Education for Foster Youth

From 2015-2016, Youth Fostering Change has been working to improve access to higher education for foster youthFoster youth have a more difficult path towards higher education, and the youth advocates' goal was to make it easier for foster youth to prepare for, attend, and graduate from college. Less than 3% of former foster youth earn a college degree by age 25, but they should have an equal chance to pursue college and become more independent, stable young adults.

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"A Home of Our Own: Youth Recommendations to Reduce Youth Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of the Child Welfare System"

From 2014-2015, Youth Fostering Change focused on the issue of homelessness of youth aging out of the child welfare system. Our advocates
recognized that most of them had either experienced homelessness or were in fear of becoming homeless at some point in their young adult life. They decided to create recommendations to reduce youth homelessness, including: increasing supportive, permanent adult connections for older youth in care; more comprehensive transition planning; and more supportive housing programs for youth leaving care.

Download a pdf of A Home of Our Own: Youth Recommendations to Reduce Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of the Child Welfare System here.

Our youth advocates also worked in collaboration with video production experts at Temple University's University Community Collaborative to create a video to raise awareness about the face of youth homelessness.

 

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"A Path to Understanding: A Youth-Developed Guide to Promote Better Communication and Relationships between Youth and Their Caseworkers and Caregivers"

From 2013-2014, Youth Fostering Change focused on age-appropriate housing options for older youth in care. Our youth advocates recognized that older youth struggle in their child welfare placements. Because these placements are often inappropriate for older youth – due to unreasonable curfews, lack of flexibility with schedules, or failure to provide independent living skills – many youth choose to leave care. In order to address this issue, our youth advocates chose to work on improving relationships between youth and their caseworkers and caregivers in the hopes of clearly identifying an appropriate living arrangement for youth in care. The youth created and starred in The Willy Show, a talk-show style video project.

Youth Fostering Change also created two documents to help address this issue. The first document, “Youth Fostering Change Youth Assessment Questionnaire: A Tool for Youth to Provide Input into Child Welfare Placement Decisions,” contains questions our youth advocates believe should be considered when older youth are placed outside of their home.

The second document, "A Path to Understanding: A Youth-Developed Guide to Promote Better Communication and Relationships Between Youth and Their Caseworkers and Caregivers,” is designed to help interpret older youth behavior and provide guidance to address those behaviors.

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One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before. Support